• Commissioner Melvin Hazen and William Van Duzer put the first nickel in the parking meters ordered by Congress for a test in Washington, November 14, 1938. (Source: Library of Congress)
    Strange But True
     
     
    Back when the parking meter was a new invention, installing them on District streets caused a bitter controversy.
  • Photo of the 100 block of North Fairfax Street, 1961-1965. (Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.)
    Haunted Alexandria
     
     
    What really happened to the woman who supposedly burned to death on the night before her wedding day? What about her groom? And what if she never left Old Town?
  • View of AIDS Memorial Quilt on the National Mall on October 11, 2018. (Photograph courtesy of The NAMES Project.)
    Washington in the 1980s
     
     
    On October 11, 1987, a quilt blanketed the National Mall, but the atmosphere in Washington was far from warm and fuzzy.
  • Women suffragists picketing in front of the White House in 1917. (Source Library of Congress via Wikipedia)
    Women's Suffrage
     
     
    While tame by today's standards, a century ago, Washington was the site of "the most militant move ever made by the suffragists of this country."
  • Route of tornado (Source: Washington Post)
    Weather History
     
     
    On November 17, 1927 one of the fiercest twisters our area has ever seen touched down near Old Town Alexandria and headed straight through the District into Maryland.

The Washington Capitals Could Have Been the Washington Pandas

Goalie Ron Low #1 of the Washington Capitals makes the save during an NHL game against the New York Rangers on October 9, 1974 at the Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. (Photo by B Bennett/Getty Images)

“Now this is no easy thing — naming a sports team,” Washington Post reporter Bob Addie wrote in the spring of 1973. Naming anything can have complications: the right name is memorable, hopefully catchy, and looks good on jerseys, while a bad name becomes a joke — or worse, an embarrassment. That was why there was such surprise that Abe Pollin, who had recently become owner of the new — and still unnamed — NHL hockey team that was coming to the D.C. area was “toying with the idea of having a contest to name the baby.”

“The Book-Delivery System at the Congressional Library, Washington,” 1897 (Photo Source: The Library of Congress). “The Book-Delivery System at the Congressional Library, Washington.” 1897. Still image. 1897. //www.loc.gov/pictures/item/97517986/.

The Congressional Library’s Underground Book Tunnel

By 1875, the Congressional Library in the Capitol Building had outgrown its shelf space, forcing librarians to store incoming books, maps, music, photographs, and documents in stacks on the Library floor. Eventually Congress approved a plan to move its Library into a new structure that would be built across from the Capitol, and by the end of the summer of 1897, all 800,000 books had been moved into the newly opened Library of Congress building, known today as the Jefferson Building. While the books now had plenty of space, a new challenge presented itself: how would the congressmen have easy access to their library if it was now a quarter of a mile away? The solution was a technological creation that seems futuristic at the very least: a special underground tunnel full of conveyor belts and pneumatic tubes that connected the two buildings, and had books zooming to and fro under First Street SE for nearly the next century.

The Bumpy Road to Washington National Airport

Washington National Airport Terminal

Early in the 20th century, a modern, accessible, airport became a necessity for any major city, and Washington was no exception. However, while there was general agreement on the need for an air hub to serve the nation’s capital, the road – literally – to achieving that goal was fraught with delays and obstacles. It would take 12 years of debate and a president stepping in for the city to finally get the airport it so desperately needed.

The Dedication of the Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial Dedication Birds Eye

To the average visitor, the Lincoln Memorial appears to be a timeless part of the National Mall. However, this classical commemoration to the sixteenth president was dedicated less than one hundred years ago, in the presence of Civil War veterans, Robert Todd Lincoln, two Presidents and a crowd of thousands. 

Historical D.C. Metro Map graphic

Historical D.C. Metro Map

The first five Metrorail stations opened March 27, 1976, so that means today is Metro’s birthday! We thought we'd celebrate the occasion with a new Metro-inspired interactive here on the blog. In our Historical D.C. Metro Map, we’ve re-named all the stations in the system according to historical events and sometimes quirky stories from the surrounding neighborhoods. America's Toilet, Dead Man's Hollow, Xenu's Landing... What's your stop?

The Pork Chop That May Have Saved the World

Scali Table (Photo Source: Occidental Grill & Seafood Website) “Dining Room - Occidental Grill & Seafood.” n.d. Accessed March 6, 2018. http://www.occidentaldc.com/gallery/dining-room/

When President Kennedy addressed the nation on October 22nd, 1962 informing American citizens of Soviet missile sites in Cuba, he didn’t know that the months-long scare he referred to would be over just six days later. Four days after JFK’s speech, two men sat down to lunch at the Occidental Restaurant located two blocks from the White House. One ordered a pork chop and the other crab cakes. Despite how it may seem, this was no ordinary lunch. In fact, it is considered to have played a major role in ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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